In this week’s bulletin:
Early last week, Premier McGuinty reiterated his commitment to a poverty reduction plan following the Ontario Liberal Party’s policy retreat in Goderich. But the 25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction rejected the Premier’s suggestion that the implementation of the plan might be delayed due to fiscal pressures. The Network said in a press release that economic road bumps are no excuse to slow down on poverty reduction.
“If we are going to ride out this slowdown and remain competitive we need everyone at their best – we must support Ontario families through job losses, reductions in hours of work, and other financial stresses,” said Janet Gasparini, Chair of the Social Planning Network of Ontario.
The Network of more that 100-organizations expects the Premier to follow through on the introduction of an anti-poverty plan by December of this year, including a 25% target for poverty reduction in the next 5 years. This 25% reduction in poverty would mean cutting the poverty rate in Ontario from 10% today to 7.5% in five years, lifting more than 350,000 Ontarians out of poverty.
Poverty slips on McGuinty’s agenda
McGuinty still says the poverty-reduction plan will be released by the end of the year but that progress on implementing it “will likely” be slower than expected.
Toronto Star (Sep 22)
The poor can’t wait any longer
The provincial Liberals have the opportunity to do something noble and right, to elevate the status of the poor, to show that Ontario believes all its citizens are entitled to live without fear or hunger.
Toronto Star op-ed by Pat Caponi (Sep 22)
Wrong time to ignore poverty
Queen’s Park is wrong-headed if it thinks bad times are a good time to ignore poverty.
Orillia Packet & Times Editorial (Sep 22)
We can’t afford to ignore poverty
Welland Tribune (Sep 20)
Poverty Reduction Plan Needs Real Backbone… Says Report on Cross-Community Poverty Reduction Consultations
At a Queen’s Park media conference on September 8, the 25 in 5 Network released a consolidated report on more than 50 consultations involving several thousand Ontarians and attended by 44 MPPs held in communities across Ontario during the spring and summer (find the report and video of the media conference at www.povertywatchontario.ca).
The main messages emerging from these consultations included:
- It’s time for serious action: A successful strategy should be anchored by a bold, multi-year plan with targets and timetables that invests significant resources to cut poverty – quick fixes will not cut it.
- Let’s help everyone become their best: Ontario’s strategy should focus on preventing and ending poverty for all people, not just children.
- Listen to those who live it: Those who live in poverty should continue to be consulted as the strategy is implemented and progress tracked.
The consultations also identified a number of priority areas for action including making work pay, decent incomes for all, housing affordability, access to early learning and child care among other areas. Click here for video from the press conference and for materials.
Join the growing list of Ontarians who are calling on leadership from the Province to reduce poverty levels by 25% in 5 years and by 50% before 2018. Help us achieve a poverty reduction plan that addresses three priorities:
1. Sustaining employment that means a living standard above poverty for any adult who works full time throughout the year. It means fair pay and stable working conditions for all Ontarians.
2. Livable incomes that mean dignity for all Ontarians – including those unable to work.
3. Strong and supportive communities that mean affordable housing, early learning and child care, public education and community programs that help people connect.
Click here to learn more about the Declaration and to add your organization’s name to the growing list of endorsers.
The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is joining forces across the province to build momentum towards a Poverty Reduction Strategy in December followed by an investment plan beginning in the 2009 Budget. This past week, members of the Cross-Community Action Table did on-site planning with local groups for this phase of the campaign in Hamilton, North Bay, Cobourg, Durham, Cornwall, Kingston, Ottawa, Belleville and Cambridge.
There is plenty more action to come in the week preceding and following the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17. We need you to get involved!
Check out Poverty Watch Ontario for a calendar of activities and stay tuned for next week’s bulletin for events in your area…
About the Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Plan eBulletins
The 25 in 5 Network is steered by a coalition of Ontario organizations including Campaign 2000, the Income Security Advocacy Centre, the Social Planning Network of Ontario the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition, The Colour of Poverty Project, the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice, Voices From the Street, among others.
This is the first of a series on weekly bulletins that 25 in 5 will issue electronically to its contact list of supporters across the province. The Countdown Bulletin is intended to keep you up to date on the development of a poverty reduction plan for Ontario and to let you know how you, your organizations and networks can help make it happen.
For more information visit http://www.25in5.ca/